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How should we mark the Great War’s centenary?

11 October 2012

It seems strange now to recall that, it was not so many years ago, around the time of the millennium, that some in Whitehall were talking about how to scale down Remembrance Sunday. One theory was that marking the centenaries of the start and end of the Great War could also mark an appropriate moment to bring the solemn Cenotaph ceremonials to a gentle end. The assumption was that Remembrance would gradually lose its resonance and relevance once the generations who fought the Great War had all passed on. Such thinking did also reflect the mistaken New Labour view of the Dome era: that Britain would be able to face the future more confidently if it let go of the historical baggage which could weigh us down.

That is not how things turned out. If anything, Remembrance seems to be gradually growing in resonance, with little sense among the children and grandchildren of the wartime generations that this doesn’t mean anything relevant to them. And perhaps, paradoxically, because recent military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan have been politically contentious, they seem to have renewed a sense of connection with the armed forces who, as in the Great War, do not make the political decisions about war and peace that put them in harm’s way.

As Prime Minister David Cameron speaks at the Imperial War Museum today, to set out the government’s thinking about the centenary of the Great War, he will spark a broader civic debate about how to mark this national moment. As a solemn moment of commemoration will, naturally, be very different in tone to the celebrations of the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympic Games, but could prove as important in bringing people together.

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The public want to see special efforts to mark the centenary, and to ensure we learn about it too. Seven out of ten people believe it offers a once in a generation opportunity to make sure we all know our shared history, and why remembrance matters, while a small minority of 16 per cent believe existing remembrance activities are sufficient, and worry that Britain spends too much time looking at the past.

YouGov polling for British Future found sweeping support for symbolic gestures – flying flags at half-mast from every town hall, and ringing bells from churches and other places of worship across the country. It is interesting that opinion is more equally divided over ways to mark the occasion that might involve even minor inconvenience, though there is support for making Remembrance Sunday 2014 not just feel like any other Sunday. 54 per cent would like a day free of Premiership football fixtures and other major sporting events. The country begins split down the middle, before a public debate has begun, as to whether Remembrance Sunday 2014 should be a day on which the shops close, with 45 per cent in favour and 45 per cent against, an idea which is more popular In England and Wales than it is in Scotland. As Labour peer Maurice Glasman has asked, is a quiet moment of Remembrance by the cheese counter at Waitrose quite the right way to mark the moment?

The next year or two will offer a chance to talk about how we will mark this moment, locally as well as nationally, but to talk too about the history that we should all know. There will be many different perspectives on the legacies of the Great War – from family histories, and how it affected the towns and villages, to how it reshaped global politics. It is also a chance to renew our understanding of the extraordinary global story that saw so many British Empire and Commonwealth soldiers fight for Britain. For a long time, the service of 210,000 Irish soldiers, and the sacrifice of 35,000, was largely airbrushed from history, but remembering their role could now contribute to the deepening of reconciliation, having been an important part of the symbolism of the Queen’s successful state visit to Dublin. If the history of the sacrifices of the Indian Army was known by the next generation, writer Mihir Bose suggested to me that this should mean that Britons from South Asian backgrounds would be just as likely to wear a poppy as anybody else. He doubts that is yet the case.

Marking the centenary of the Great War could also be a chance to understand that we share more history than we might realise.

Sunder Katwala is the director of British Future.

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Show comments
  • Bob Hutton

    The “Great War” was a complete and utter waste of life. The only people to come out of the “Great War” with any credit were conscientous objectors.

  • Iain Hill

    Can this expenditure be legally blocked? Spend it on getting deprived young people into work. That is what the soldiers of 1914 would have wished, not a Pre-election pitch for Conservative votes. Those who do still want to recall 1914 can do so quietly, without expense.

  • TomTom

    We should let the Liberals celebrate their last period in Government where they deliberately got Britain involved in a War where previous governments had managed to keep Britain out of say the Franco-Prussian War, and helped destroy the British Empire. LIberals did a super job in 1906 with Grey getting Britain allied to Russia for the first time in history and France too……..Britain’s decline was given a great push forward by a party that never held office again until Cameron fell in love

  • Nobby

    How should we mark the Great War’s centenary?

    Invade Belgium?

  • Mynydd

    Two ways to remember WW1
    If the GB and Empire dead were repatriated at the rate of 25 each and every day, it would have taken from 1914 untill 2014 to bring them all home.
    If the GB and Empire total casualities stood shoulder to shoulder the line would be of the order of 17,000 miles, that’s right seventeen thousand miles.

    • HooksLaw

      And then there is the French German Russian Austrian etc. And then ditto (and more) for WW2.

      ‘jaw jaw is better than war war’.

  • Wilhelm

    I hope Danny Boyle isn’t involved, according to him the British Army of 1914 was probably 99% black and muslim

  • Charlie the Chump

    As long as one veteran or even the child or grandchild of a veteran can walk past the Cenotaph we should respect the one minute silence and our leaders should bow their heads in recognition of those who did and died, and to shame those who just talk and survive.

  • Jez

    In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma we can celebrate the sacrifices made by the troops that came from there as they fought for their Emperor and the Indian Empire….. just as the lads from the Mills here joined up to fight for their King and the Empire.
    The Indian Sub-continents descendants who have left these places to set up home here should do also in their memory.
    “For a long time, the service of 210,000 Irish soldiers, and the sacrifice of 35,000, was largely airbrushed from history…” Yes, it’s not really that much of a thing you can really promote in the Eire Republic. You need to set up a petition or something and send it to them.
    Regards our heritage and history, bringing light to the darkest corners of the globe via Britain has always been seen by Labour and the Liberal Left as something to denigrate. It’s because deep down they hate themselves and feel we’ve got to utterly dismantle anything around us that reminds them of this- and then rebuild something they feel, due to their extreme feelings of superiority, is far more appropriate for a working class- that incidently the liberal left never could quite relate to.
    And then we have things like this article that is yet another attempt to fix together a multitude of different cultures, from all over the same globe as mentioned above, crammed together in a very small country which is England really, without even asking in the first place, all within a period of 40 years.
    Good luck with that love.

  • mongoose

    In recent years some powerful and moving hymns associated with Remembrance Sunday have been excised from the service. For me the leading example is ‘O Valient Hearts’ with its magnificent tune and, according to some, its politically incorrect words. It conveys the immense loss, suffering, bravery and bereavement of that era. It brings tears to my eyes anyway.

  • Eddie

    The 100 year anniversary in 2014 will mark itself, with no need for politically correct diversity-industry propaganda.
    The Irish contribution was NOT airbrushed from history – but it was largely ignored by the anti-English Irish governments some of whom supported Hitler and saw all Irish people whop supported the Brits as traitors.
    And let’s not exaggerate the number of Indians and Africans involved either: some were, yes, as the army was a paying job and a career, better than subsistence farming in India. Time perhaps to remind the world how the British Empire gave India and other countries far FAR more than it took.
    Fact is. lots of Asians here especially Muslims hate Britain, hate Europe, hate the West, have Jews and hate white people – despite all the diversity lessons in school. Some silly BBC 2014 diversity-festival won’t change that. Only full integration and the acceptance by these people of our values will.

    • HooksLaw

      1.5 million Indians overall served in WW1, 850,000 served overseas and at least 4 divisions on the western front. 80,000 casualties in all theatres. 13,000 medals, including 12 Victoria Crosses.

    • Pester Liggot

      Where are you getting these ‘facts’ about Asians? You should put down your bigotry handbook and take a look at HooksLaw’s facts above regarding Indian participation in WW1; also be aware that if Indians hate the West so much – why is the largest single employer of British people an Indian company? Once again single-cell brained people like yourself have to simplify everything in order to accommodate your racist world view. Muslims may have many reservations the like of which you described – NOT ALL ASIANS ARE MUSLIM….FACT. Also regarding the British Empire, when it first took root in India, the sub-continent accounted for over 20% of the world’s wealth, when the British left, this had fallen to 5%. Gave more than they took? In your Nick Griffin-shagging-Enoch-Powell dreams…

      • rubyduck

        Pester Liggot “why is the largest single employer of British people an Indian company?”

        Is it ?

        • Pester Liggot

          @Hexhamgeezer and rubyduck – clarification, I should have said largest employer in the British manufacturing sector. The company is the Tata Group (which owns Jaguar and Corus Steel). Still, I think the point I’m making still stands. If Indians hated the West so much, they aren’t doing a good job about it by propping up the manufacturing sector in it’s erstwhile colonial master’s backyard.

          • rubyduck

            Pester Liggot

            Tata’s not propping anything up, it’s a commercial organisation making money.

            Exploiting opportunities in the UK is fair enough, but this sort of attitude isn’t :

            The Tata IT guys I’ve had the pleasure of working with are nothing to write home about, btw.

            • Pester Liggot

              If his attitude is so incorrect – maybe you can explain why the manufacturing sector in this country is floundering so much, if in fact British workers are in fact, so ‘hard working’? Those Tata IT guys probably have the same opinion about you. Particularly given your propensity to waste your time on tabloid rags like the Daily Mail.

      • james102

        Yes this “Asian” label must infuriate Chinese, Sikhs, and
        other Indians.

        I can’t remember hearing of any of them involved in the
        child prostitution rings recently revealed to have been run in South Yorkshire,
        although the media insisted on referring to ‘Asians’. They also have very low
        rates of state dependency. People of Pakistanis and Bangladeshi heritage, on
        the otherhand, have the highest.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        ‘why is the largest single employer of British people an Indian company?’


        or do you mean the NHS?

  • HooksLaw

    ‘ is a quiet moment of Remembrance by the cheese counter at Waitrose quite the right way to mark the moment?’ – well it probably is as opposed to any political based attempt at hijacking the moment.
    The war was a terrible experience, a number of terrible experiences, it was 100 years ago. To sum it all up over one ceremony on the annmiversary of its start is in any event inadequate.

  • Daniel Maris

    The best way to remember the Great War would be to do it the continental way and actually have a think about it, not indulge in some manufactured maudlin sentiment as the ridiculous British Future are attempting to make us do. Why not put up some taxpayers money to fund some documentaries, some free debates, some plays, some re-enactments, some commercial films? Why not fund local history societies to produce websites dealing with the local history of these times.

    The Great War should be remembered as the near inevitable outcome of the industrial revolution and militaristic nationalism which ushered in the beginnings of the end of Empire (not least because subject peoples saw the Europeans behaving towards each other like savages).

    • Dimoto

      I applaud your post below, but can’t you see the irony of abusing British Future, then coming out with your own Marxist version of the origin of the war ?

      • Dimoto

        This was a reply to Seneca’s second post, which has now disappeared (just in case anyone is wondering what the hell I’m going on about).

        • Seneca

          Seneca didn’t make a second post, until just now! Whoever, you were replying to it wasn’t me as I really do not have any Marxist tendencies I rather resent being accused of them!
          So we’re still left “wondering just what the hell you are going on about”

    • Nicholas

      “The Great War should be remembered as the near inevitable outcome of the industrial revolution and militaristic nationalism which ushered in the beginnings of the end of Empire (not least because subject peoples saw the Europeans behaving towards each other like savages).”

      Absolute Grade A codswallop.

      • your lords and betters

        You tell ’em, mate!

      • your lords and betters

        That’s such a spectacular photograph accompanying this blogpost, by the way.

        Remember, this was taken in the years 1914-18. Take a look at the background of that photo, and the none-too-symbolic representations of same.

        All done to purpose, of course. That’s one of us up there. Not you, or them.

      • Daniel Maris

        Sorry, I think bayonetting, gassing, blowing up with high explosives, and machine gunning people caught on barbed wire is all pretty savage and barbaric even when necessary. And these were Empires fighting – empires soaked in the blood of conquest. I am not sure what you think the Great War was about. Belgian neutrality?

        • your lords and betters

          Yes, of course. It was the Belgian neutrality.

          Now, just where in the hell is that Belgium anyway? It’s been almost a century, and none of my peers seem to have figured it out yet.

        • Nicholas

          Don’t be sorry. You and I will have to agree to disagree. All war is savage and barbaric. I suggest you update your reading on both the causes and conduct of the war. It’s moved on a bit since Joan Littlewood.

          • Daniel Maris

            I never said all war wasn’t savage and barbaric. I am saying this was a very savage and barbaric war and its existence (even more WW2) undermined European claims to being more highly civilised than the rest of the world. The subject peoples of the various European Empires – at least the educated elites – certainly noticed this and it gave a strong impetus towards the end of empire.

    • Sunder Katwala

      The heritage and lottery funding could, I hope, support the types of projects you mention. television, radio, the newspapers, historians, theatres and schools can surely produce the type of scrutiny and interrogation of the facts and myths of the war. judging by popularinterest in history, I suspect Britain is one of the countries best equipped and most open to that kind of interrogation, rather than an officially imposed authorised version alone.

  • Seneca

    An an Irishman I can tell you that the deeds of Irish soldiers (in both WWI and WWII) were airbrushed out by successive Irish Govt.s. Devalera couldn’t even be bothered to attend an official opening for the Islandbridge war memorial which still remains isolated on the other side of the river from Phoenix park (there was supposed to be a bridge connecting the two). Ask any Taxi driver in central Dublin to take you to the Lutyens designed WWI memorial at Islandbridge and you’d be very hard pressed to find one that even knows it exists. I not only had to give my taxi driver directions but I had to tell him just how many Irishmen volunteered in both WWI and WWII. To say he was stunned would be an understatement. Nor should we forget that those serving Irish soldiers who left Ireland to join the British Army and fight Nazi tyranny found, upon their arrival back home after the war, that they were officially discriminted against by a deliberate Govt policy that published their names in a bound volume circulated to every local govt dept and ensured that none of these men were ever permitted employment, at any level, in Govt works. Of course this emanated from an Irish Govt that had the affrontery to send condeolences to Germany on the death of Adolf Hitler. The same Govt that employed Dan Breen as a Govt minister, the man who claimed Adolf Hitler was the greatest man in Europe and continued to mount pictures of Der Furher on his wall well after WWII had ended. Furthermore, these policy decisions were being implemented at a time when leading ex-Nazi’s were fleeing justice via Dublin and some, like Otto Skorzeny, were not only living quite openly in Dublin but were in fact the toast of Dublin society.
    Yes, the Irish contribution to both WWI and WWII has been airbrushed out of ‘official’ History but that has happened in, and at the behest, of the Irish Govt. Here in Britain Ireland’s contribution has never been forgotten and it is never mentioned without also acknowledging that the Irish contribution is all the more relevant because every man jack of them was a volunteer, there being no conscription in Ireland during either war.
    As for the centenary of the start of WWI I do believe that we should hold a larger than normal ceremony of remembrance and I might add that I think it would be nice to see both the then Prime Minister and a member of the Royal Family (possibly William or Harry) attend a ceremony at the Islandbridge memorial in Dublin. Such a gesture of recognition of the Irish contribution to WWI (and WWII) would not only go along way towards re-igniting Irish interest in this period (something that has been ongoing, especially in Academic circles, for several years now) but would also make up for the fact that whilst the Queen (during her visit to Ireland) attended the Irish ‘Garden of Rembrance’ (dedicated to all those who gave their lives for Irish Freedom) no-one seemed to think it fitting to have her ‘nip next door’ (she was staying at the Presidents residence in Phoenix Park) to the WWI memorial Gardens at Islandbridge. They very success of the Queen’s visit to Ireland and the rousing public welcome she was greeted with, especially in the rebel county of Cork, should be proof enough that Govt policy rarely reflects the true feelings of the population at large.

  • Daniel Maris

    Look at the map illustrating the 1914 article on so called British Future. They have a map showing the “Irish Free State” which didn’t come in until well after the Great War. Shows how much they know about the past.

  • Daniel Maris

    Not by listening to some sinister thought-control outfit like “British Future” which is trying to create some ersatz identity manufactured by flakey academics who want to keep the mass immigration conveyor belt going.

  • CmdKeen

    The armed forces aren’t going to let go of the November Ceremonies any time soon, even were an attempt made to scale back the “national” aspect of the period there will still be turnout for war memorials everywhere.

    November Ceremonies are not solely about the two World Wars, and plenty of comrades have fallen since 1945 whose memory must not be forgot.

  • Swiss Bob

    How should we mark the Great War’s centenary?

    By hanging every MP from a lamppost?

    • HooksLaw


      • Swiss Bob

        I’m sure those who fought and died, were gassed, blown up and shell shocked are looking down on modern day Britain thinking, “yes, that’s what I fought for”.

        And FU too.

        • HooksLaw

          The war was fought for geo political reasons not socio economic ones. The rights and wrongs of social and economic policy have nothing to do with freeing Europe from tyranny or the far east from Japanese imperial expansion.

          The people returning from the wars voted for first left wing liberal governments and then socialist ones. You invoke the great sacrifices of soldiers but then ignore the way they and their families voted subsequently.

          • Swiss Bob

            “You invoke the great sacrifices of soldiers but then ignore the way they and their families voted subsequently.”

            ‘They’ were mostly dead, nearly a million of them, with another million and a half in casualties.

            PS The Japanese were on our side in WWI, Was that ignorance or socialist revisionism?

            • HooksLaw

              Whats your point? I know the Japanese were on our side in WW1. I am talking about both wars – and indeed it needed both wars to raise the death toll to a million
              The wars were about political issues and people coming back from the war were able to vote for whatever social policies they thought best. they kept on voting at elections thereafter. Thats why they fought – if anything – for the freedom to vote.

          • Vulture

            Yet again total historical ignorance from Hookie: in Britain the soldiers returning from the Great War did NOT vote for the Left ( that happened after 1945) – the between-the-wars era was dominated by Tory Govts and both of the two Labour Govts of the 1920s were very short lived: one was a minority backed by the Liberals; the other was quickly swallowed up by the Great Depression. In Europe, the story was the same – ex-servicemen supported the far right, not the left, and Fascism came to power in Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Portugal to name but five.

            • HooksLaw

              Lloyd George

              • Vulture

                @Hook: Yes, Lloyd George, exactly. In 1918 LG was no longer a radical Liberal but PM of a totally Tory dominated national Govt. Nor did the soldiers in WW1 ‘fight for the vote’ as you absurdly say, as they already had it! Please give up mate – your abysmal ignorance of history shows with every post you write.

  • Greyandgrumpy

    How should we mark the Great War’s centenary?……………….Start another one, that will get the economy started again.

    • Daniel Maris

      There’s a good game: name one personage whose assassination today could spark a war as Great as the Great War.

      I’d go for North Korean Kim, whatever the rest of his name is.

      He’s assassinated. His nutty generals retaliate with war on South Korea and missiles on Japan. South Korea responds with American help. Chinese roll in, install puppet regime in North korea. Americans call for their withdrawal. Russia backs China. Japan militarises disputed islands as a self-defence measure. China invades islands. Japan sinks a few Chinese ships. Chinese launch all out attack on Taiwan etc etc.

      • Greyandgrumpy

        I think your start point is a good one, to get the ball rolling. If the truth were known, anyone from outside of Europe who doesn’t have at least three generation history of living in Britain, wouldn’t care a monkeys about the centenary, as it never did affect any of their family, at any time.

        The pull together culture that we had during both wars has been rapidly fading from the 60’s as our population becomes more diverse and more self centered, and will continue to do so for ever unless halted by some new crusade as spoken by Mr Powell in his “Rivers of Blood” speech, or by an ultra right wing government, heaven forbid. But I feel that the bottom line in all of this is that we (The British) have always been ignored by successive governments, in favour of outsiders, whether it be rights to a council property, or just rights in general.

      • HooksLaw

        You need to also recreate the complex balkan web of nationalism. As it is, generals install their own puppet, end of scenario. Indeed its the generals who would likely carry out the assassination.
        It you want to link WW1 to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand you could link it further to an inexperienced chauffeur who took a wrong turn.
        The reality is that Germany had been looking for an excuse and a war would have happened anyway.

        • your lords and betters

          Yes, you can count on it, there was going to be war, like it or not.

    • james102

      Many a true word….

  • Vulture

    The last thing that the dead of the Great War need is an opportunist creep like David Cameron jumping on the bandwaggon to mark their sacrifice.
    I wish I could believe in his sincerity, but I cannot. I rather fear that this is just another gimmick designed to counter the SNP referendum campaign by marking our shared ‘Britishness’.
    That said, its quite remarkable that now the 1914-18 war has been transformed from memory into myth our obsession with it shows no sign of slackening. When I first attended the Menin Gate Last Post ceremony at Ypres in the 1980s there were perhaps a dozen people there. When I went last weekend there were several hundred – and its like that every night.

    • HooksLaw

      You are the opportunist creep. Your post proves it. Its obvious that there would be some commemoration of the beginning of WW1, no matter what the government.
      I have read that many visitors to Mennin Gate are parties of school children, it and war poets, being part of the national curriculum.
      The ceremony is a tribute to the Belgian people who organise it.

      • Vulture

        @ Hooks Law: Please don’t show your ignorance more that you have to with your usual vulgar abuse: you have clearly never been near to the Menin Gate ( which you misspell) . My father served in the Great War. My uncle died in it. War poets are no longer on the school curriculum ( when they were, up to about four years ago, I guided parties of scholchildren around the western front). The ceremony is not ‘organised by the Belgian people’ as there is no such thing – which you would soon discover if you went to Flanders. It is organised by the Fire Brigade of Ypres/Ieper who sound the Last Post on their bugles. I have rarely read more ludicrous errors in a single post. Now put your head back up Cameron’s arse where it belongs.

        • HooksLaw

          You talked of Cameron being a creep and then criticise others for vulgar abuse? What a joke you are. You just use the occasion to vent your usual spittlefest.

          I know who organises the last post, the local fire brigade is composed of Belgian people, we should be grateful for their effort. I know it was restarted the day after liberation in WW2.
          Your efforts to promote division between the Belgian peoples is duly noted.

          Menin? You are lucky my typing is as good as it is.
          Everybody has veterans of WW1 in their family history.

          2014 is an obvious date to mark some commemoration (it would be nice to think it would be based on truth not legend), your effort to smear Cameron is pathetic.

  • dfjkbvdjkf

    If it needs to be remembered at all, it should be a sombre, solemn occasion to impress the enormity of the loss and sacrifice. I would suggest that either it is just let pass or that all national TV stations have 100% of their broadcast-hours be dedicated to reading out the names of everyone who died – from all combatant nations until all of them have been remembered individually. It should only take a few weeks.

    If people aren’t willing to give up their nightly entertainment in memory of these horrific wars, then their “sorrow” or “respect” will be seen to be truly hollow and superficial.

    • Heartless etc.,

      And, I might add – the slippery scheming Europhilic H2B has no place whatever in this event.

  • RKing

    Leave the EU?
    That would be something really good to celebrate in years to come and what better date.
    We could wear a red, white and blue poppy!

  • Mitch

    Lets honour the centenary by making soldiers redundant, days before full pension entitlement and push the senior citizens (who fought in WW2) further into poverty, whereby they have to sell their medals just to pay the gas bill.
    Oh hang on. We already do that!!!!!!

  • Slim Jim

    I wonder if those who wish to ‘scale down’ Remembrance Sunday will also downplay the Holocaust. We will remember. Always.

    • telemachus associates

      Any such may need a tour of Auschwitz-Burkenau, Dachau, Belsen and Sobibor.
      They need to stand in silence on the turf and reflect on how an apparently civilised society could conceive and execute mechanised extermination.
      They should then come home and thank God for the civilisation represented by our dignified homage across the land on the eleventh hour of the eleventh month.

  • MikeF

    No-one has ‘airbrushed’ from history the fact that Irish soldiers fought in the British Army in the First World War – the whole of Ireland was still part of the United Kingdom then, so what would you expect.

    • james102

      The difference is there was no conscription and a booming
      war time economy ,so they were all volunteers. The 10th (Irish)
      Division was recruited completely from what is now the Republic of Ireland.

      They were air brushed out because a new country needs a
      foundation myth and de Valera was Anglophobic. The Irish that volunteered for
      the 2nd World War were treated in the same way.

  • Wilhelm

    Sunder Katwala director of British Future , A Cultural Marxist brainwashing organisation, all for mass immigration and multicultualism. Quite nasty.

    • scheduled departures every day

      Yes, no need for that type to be given much voice in this matter. They can be ignored.

    • Dimoto

      What a thoroughly ungracious sort you are.
      Time you paid a visit to the Menem Gate.

      • scheduled departures every day

        …and likely time you learned to spell at least as well as you lecture.

  • james102

    It certainly does have something to do with family links, so
    it is easier if your ancestors would have been able to sit under the same oak

    I can remember reading one of my own direct ancestor’s army records
    at Kew where the amazing work of volunteers had restored the old ‘burnt’
    records that had been damaged in World War 2.

    We should mark this pivotal moment in world history and also
    reassess how the war itself is viewed. More ‘The Pity of War’ (Niall Ferguson),
    and the excellent ‘Mud, Blood and Poppycock’ (Gordon Corrigan) and less
    Blackadder goes forth.

  • HooksLaw

    We should mark it by remembering that by its end the only effective fighting force was the British (and Empire) army. We should remember it objectively not through myth and legend.
    I don’t think that the deeds of Irish soldiers were airbrushed from British history. The Irish will have to speak for themselves.
    In terms of remembrance the Indian army fought in the desert and the far east in WW2 not to mention the middle east and Western Front in WW1. There is no reason why they should not wear a poppy.

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